We Eat Out awards – Where to eat in Joburg

24 Nov 2023
Eat Out is South Africa's premier restaurant guide, and annually hosts a splashy and flashy awards ceremony in Cape Town. That also explains the brand's over-concentration on Cape Town's culinary scene and our desire to provide some correction. Saying that, the 2023 Eat Out Woolworths Restaurant Awards held on Nov 19 did give some extra nods to a few more Joburg restaurants and chefs than usual.

On the 2023 list:
Acid Food & Wine Bar 
Les Créatifs 
Proud Mary 


2 star:
The Pot Luck Club Johannesburg

When it comes to dining out, we have several favourites that made the list and a lot more that didn’t make the official cut. The list below is a snapshot of our team’s favourite restaurants to eat out in Joburg – and all of them have 5 In Your Pocket stars.
Authentic Neapolitan pizza at Cafe28. Photo: Cafe28.


We think the BEST pizza in Joburg can be found at Cafe28, with Coalition coming in close second. Cafe28 is a gem tucked away in the Inanda Green Office Park. On an extensive menu of 26 pizzas, we haven’t found one we don’t like. Their authentic Neapolitan pizza bases are thin with a thick, chewy crust and charred edges. Trust us, it’s the best pizza in all of Joburg. 

For homemade pasta, our favourite old-school Italian restaurant is Tortellino d’Oro in Oaklands. The intimate Italian eatery serves classic, authentic Italian dishes with specials like fresh porcini mushrooms when they’re in stock. The on-site deli is packed with homemade pasta, sauces, freshly baked bread, and delectable desserts, including sweet ricotta tarts. Pricey, but oh so nice.

Pronto Italian Restaurant in Craighall serves the best seasonal wild mushrooms we have tasted. This neighbourhood favourite has an extensive pasta menu split into vegetarian, meat and seafood options. And you have to end your meal with a decadent Pronto-style crème brûlée topped with caramel and homemade shortbread. 
Seafood rice at Restaurante Parreirinha. Photo: Restaurante Parreirinha.


Joburg has an abundance of authentic Portuguese cuisine, so this was certainly a tough one to narrow down. 1920 Portuguese restaurant in Hyde Park stole our hearts with traditional Portuguese dishes and homemade Madeiran specialties. Run by husband-and-wife team Manny and Paula, 1920 has excellent service, ambience and outstanding seafood!

And for the real deal, we also enjoy a leisurely lunch at Restaurante Parreirinha who in November 2023 packed up their restaurant in the south of Joburg after close to 48 years and opened in Melrose Arch. Pronounced ‘pa-rey-ring-here’, their authentic Portuguese cuisine is the epitome of Joburg comfort food, with an extensive menu of seafood, steak and chicken (the per-peri chicken here is excellent and supremely large) and regular specials like Prawns Nacionale, or pork and clam stew. The address may be swanky, but this spot remains Southern at heart – you'll notice that on the cocktail menu. The banana blowjob is definitely a first for Melrose Arch. 

Chinese and Japanese

Asian fusion restaurants seem to come and go in this town, but this authentic Chinese establishment has stood the test of time. Our favourite Chinese restaurant, Red Chamber, is hidden on the second floor of Hyde Park Shopping Centre. Along with Chinese classics like firecracker kingklip and sizzling beef, we love their steamed dumplings, spicy brinjal pot, and cucumber salad which deserves its own award. 

Our favorite Japanese restaurant, Yamato in Melrose Arch, has never been big on atmosphere but offers super authentic Japanese food with tofu, sauces and noodles – all made from scratch. Their fresh, expertly prepared sushi and sashimi take the top spot for the best sushi in Joburg. 

When it comes to Asian-inspired fare, we are big fans of neighbours Acid Food & Wine Bar and Glory. Acid Food & Wine Bar is a refreshing spot that has brought new meaning to the wine bar in Joburg with their thoughtful selections. Glory wins an extra prize for their innovative take on food – always experimenting and always getting it right. 

Les Creatifs. Photo: Supplied.
Les Créatifs by Wandile Mabaso. Photo: Les Créatifs. 

Fine dining

Tucked away in The Peech Hotel in Melrose is one of Joburg’s top fine-dining restaurants, Basalt, a unique dining experience with a seasonally themed tasting menu created by Chef James Diack, whose farm-to-fork approach is a refreshing take. 

We lunched with chef Wandile Mabaso at Les Créatifs and were blown away by his wizardry in the kitchen. Not only is he someone who is shaping a fresh way of thinking about locally influenced dishes, but his work is exquisite, each plate a rich creation that is as much a play on heritage as it is a focus on creating a visual feast. Excellence all around. He garnered a single star from Eat Out, and we would like to add another four. 

Chef Freddie Dias at Séjour also earns our nod. A talent in the kitchen, we know he is cooking up another new restaurant and are looking forward to that.  

Luke Dale Roberts' The Pot Luck Club is a more casual fine-dining hangout. It's also where you'll find one of our favourite cocktails, the Thai Green Curry. There's something to be said for a savoury cocktail in a city where sweetness is often the flavour of the day. 

We are also great fans of Darren O' Donovan's Embarc in Parkhurst, where each dish is considered and the flavours are to be savoured. Order them as mains or as starter portions. We love that innovation.

Greek and Mediterranean 

There is tough competition in this category, but Soul Souvlaki wins the best gyro. Our favourite is ‘halloumi in the hand’ with strips of charred and smoky halloumi cheese in a toasted pita with tzatziki, rocket, red onion, tomato and a touch of chilli. 

But if we’re talking pita, you can’t beat Ba-Pita’s freshly baked fluffy pita made to order in a wood-fired oven. And we could eat their crispy falafel every day of the week. 

For authentic Greek cuisine, we love Parea Taverna in Illovo. Their extensive menu includes meze, salads, souvlakia and seafood, but we love ordering big sharing platters with dips, falafel, dolmades, halloumi, red peppers, baby marrow and brinjals. 

And of course, Kolonaki Greek Kouzina tops our list of Greek restaurants for both the delicious food and upmarket Santorini island-style décor. We love everything on the menu, from pickle jars to lamb chops to their roasted cauliflower.


Sanza Sandile serves the best of Yeoville’s local delicacies in a harvest table dinner. Yeoville Dinner Club is a curated food experience to showcase a variety of dishes from across the continent. The menu changes according to availability, but we love the whole fried fish and Sanza’s captivating stories about each dish.

Mother in Law at The woods. Photo: Mother in Law.
Curry that goes with cocktails, and a great atmosphere at Mother-in-Law. Photo: Mother-in-Law. 


Joburg certainly isn’t short of delicious Indian cuisine. We love Ghazal’s in Melrose Arch for authentic North Indian food, especially their dal makhani made with black lentils and red kidney beans tempered with cumin seeds. 

But when we want a little of everything, we head to Thava in Norwood where you can order full-size or smaller-tasting portions of any dish. Owner Mathew Abraham comes from Kerala so his food combines flavours from the region, like chicken chettinadu or Kerala coconut prawn curry.

For a smart modern take on South African Indian food, there's Mother-in-Law, a cocktail and curry, and likely loud music spot. Take whatever you know about traditional Indian restaurants and toss that out of the window. 


It was simply too tough to choose, so we’ve listed both of our favourite Turkish eateries. Istanbul Kebab, located in Melrose Arch serves authentic Turkish cuisine including doner, kebabs, falafel, pide, and sweet treats like baklava. 

In Mayfair, you’ll find the Turkish Kebab House & Butchery also serving delicious authentic Turkish food. Our favourite dish is juicy chicken chops and baklava for dessert. And after lunch, stop by the shop and butchery to buy marinated meat and kofte to braai at home.

Fire food at Che Argentine Grill. Photo: Che Argentine Grill.

Latin American, Mexican and Grill

Norwood’s Baha Taco is, quite possibly, the only authentic Mexican restaurant in Joburg. Hand-pressed soft shell corn tacos come with a variety of moreish fillings, including beer-battered hake and braised pork belly. We love their homemade tortilla chips which are also available to purchase in their deli. 

After falling in love with Che’s steak sandwiches loaded with chimichurri at food markets, we were overjoyed to eat at their grill restaurant in Parkwood. Che Argentine Grill serves authentic Argentinian cuisine with smaller tapas-style dishes and big juicy meat dishes like ojo de bife (ribeye) and asado (short ribs).

For a perfectly fired steak with a view, we’re completely willing to drive 40 minutes out of Joburg to grillhouse and tapas restaurant And then there was fire. Located within Nirox Sculpture Park in the Cradle of Humankind – beyond the steak and marrow bone – we love the laid-back atmosphere and the opportunity to nestle in a lush, green park.

Special mentions

The Butcher Shop & Grill, Sandton – Best wagyu biltong in Joburg.
Father CoffeeKramerville – Best pastries including silky burnt Basque cheesecake and Swedish cardamom buns.
World of Samoosas, Fordsburg – Best samoosas, especially mutton.
The Pantry, Rosebank – Best wood-fired focaccia bread from Marble. 
Linden Loaves, various wholesale locations – Best freshly baked sourdough.
Syrian Rose, Emmarentia – Best and budget-priced shawarmas.
Food I Love You, Constitution Hill – We will follow Mpho Phalane anywhere.
La Tarte Pâtisserie, mostly online – Best pastries in Joburg. 
Belle's Patisserie, via WhatsApp – Best red velvet cheesecake, hands down.
Loco in Braamfontein. That fish taco hits the right notes every time. 


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